La Jolla Beach Walkabout

Exploring your own backyard

Trip Report 20121202

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The Experience

When you return home from traveling, you see your own hometown in a totally different light.  Truth be told, we live in a city that people visit for vacation.  So, that being the case, we decided to do a bit more exploring in our own town.  Some places you visit so frequently that you sort of forget that they are interesting, so I decided to bring my camera along to record some of the things that we see with relative frequency.  These photos were taken with my Olympus OM-D E-5 mirrorless camera with a 14-150mm lens (28-300 mm equivalent).

The photos below are what we saw.

An ex-work mate of mine, Scott, was in town on business and asked us to meet him for brunch at the Karl Strauss Brewery in Sorrento Valley.  We looked forward to seeing him.  Both Scott and I worked within 100 yards of Strauss and ate there frequently over the years.  But, in all that time, I never took even one photo of the awesome koi they have in their pond.  When we met him for brunch, I finally got to photograph the fish.  There were a number of pretty big fish and I culled the photos to the best ones.  It was cloudy and overcast giving only dim lighting.  And the pond was cloudy with whatever ponds get cloudy with, likely algae.  The koi above is perhaps 15 inches long.

For good or for bad, the pond is right next to the outside dining area and folks occasionally toss food to the fish.  They are keenly aware of the meaning of people and will usually come over to investigate when they see you.  The red koi was the biggest one we saw.

There were a whole set of koi in the pond but only a few were in our area close enough to photograph.  The white koi was about a foot long and the yellow one perhaps 9 inches.  Back in the day, there was a sushi bar in the building and I always wondered if the koi were secretly on the menu.  Of course, that never deterred me from eating the sushi.

From Karl Strauss we decided to head to the beach at La Jolla Shores.  The Shores are only 3-4 miles from our home, but we don't go there that often.  In fact, I could not recall the last time I had been there.  We knew that there was a big storm off of northern California and Oregon, so the waves would be pretty big.  La Jolla Shores is an exclusive area but there is a publically accessible beach there and it is heavily used during the summer months.  Visible in the distance to the north are the Scripps Institute pier and the cliffs of Torrey Pines.

The Scripps Institute pier is used for research and in addition to the cranes at the end of the pier there are a bunch of instruments that allow remote monitoring of ocean conditions.

Some of the most expensive property in the county is on this beach.  These homes have property lines that come right to the waterline.  In the distance are some of the buildings of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography including their aquarium.

Given the larger waves, there were plenty of surfers out in the water.  We passed these two gals in the parking lot as they were suiting up.  Now they are getting in position for entering the water.

Some of the surfers were actually quite accomplished.

The gal with the red board spotted a flock of sea gulls that were resting on the beach and took off at dead run expecting to see them fly off en-mass.  Instead, the birds were so accustomed to being harassed that only the birds directly under foot moved and even then not very far.

Once the blond girl completed her fool's errand, they headed into the surf to get wet.

The waves were actually quite good sized for this area and were a direct result of the storm system off the coast of northern California.

We watched the large waves come rolling onto the shore for quite awhile.

The city counsel in their infinite wisdom has decided to impose a series of ever-stricter rules on beach behavior.  I am waiting for them to ban fires and cooking on the beach next.

To the northeast of the beach we could see the high dollar homes of La Jolla.  The homes on the hill all have ocean views.

Some of the sets were pretty big and would surely produce powerful rip currents.

This very nice home was at the north end of the La Jolla Shores parking lot.  Closer inspection suggested that the home was not occupied as we saw no furniture inside.

To the east of the shores were some very nice places.

Kathleen decided to walk along the beach to check out some of the homes there.

We watched this fellow stand in the surf and gaze at the waves for some time as though he was unsure he could handle the bigger waves.  He did finally go in.

We decided to mosey on and drove south to the "real" portion of La Jolla.  The beaches switched to cliffs that were much less hospitable to swimmers.

At the foot of Marine Street were some pretty nice places, right on the beach.  We looked at the ocean at a several overlooks and then headed south into Pacific Beach.  We were lucky enough to get one of the very few free parking places very close to our destination.

The fire station in Pacific Beach, or "PB" to the locals, is iconic and must be the best gig in the fire department.  During the summers, I am sure that there is a constant stream of bikini-clad babes who roll in with stubbed toes looking for assistance.

The PB boardwalk is always an interesting time.  Even when the weather is bad (and it was not bad today) there are runners and bikers doing the beach path.  Today, given the sunny weather and warm temperatures, it was quite crowded.

The viewfinder on my camera is small and my intention with this photo was to capture the statue of the pelican.  Only when I got the photo onto the computer did I notice the Mohawk "do" on the older kid.  Whatever they are looking at on his phone appears to be very engaging.

The northern end of the PB boardwalk has been redone and is now flanked by nice, new condos and apartments.  Some of the older beach-side dwellings were real dives.

The height of the waves was high enough to cause closure of the PB pier.  I am sure that the bridge pilings take a pounding in the strong surf.  Note the Christmas tree on the end of the pier.

The PB pier, AKA "Crystal Pier" hosts a set of bungalows that can be rented.  I am not sure if they were closed by the waves as well, but likely were.

There are plenty of dive beach bars in the area and the PB Shore Club is surely prototypical.

The lifeguard tower had their whiteboard sign out on display.

Joe's is right on the beach and Kathleen spontaneously offered up here appraisal as we walked by: "I have eaten there many times and never had anything but a mediocre meal".  I agree.

We ate at Armando's Green Flash and had a nice lunch.  Then we went south along the San Diego River slough and spotted these pelicans.  These are rather foul creatures, foul fowl if you will, and have a long history of "strafing" the bathers on the beach and surfers alike.

From the San Diego River slough, we could see the San Diego Mission.  Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá was the first Franciscan mission in the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.  We have been there before, but never took photos (??).  We will visit again soon.

San Diego is an awesome place and we fully intend to get out more often.  Bank on that.

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